Given that Seattle has given us given us amazing weather the last few weeks, I’ve been taking to the trails more than usual. I’m much more focused on weights and interval training now as opposed to long stints of cardio, however, hiking is a much more enjoyable full-body workout. And it’s not just physical.
Research shows that hiking is linked to higher amounts of brainpower. If you crave a better attention span on upcoming work or projects, spend the morning outdoors to clear your mind. Although physically being in nature allows your mind to de-clutter, being away from so much technology is just like hitting the reset button. How good is your Wifi in the woods? Exactly.
Good news for calorie counters: You can burn well over 500 calories in just an hour of hiking. I personally love walking on trails because I’m prone to shin splints, and the forest floor is way softer on your joints as opposed to asphalt or concrete.
Regular hiking activity lowers blood pressure and cholesterol. The cardiovascular aspect the ups and downs of hiking is extremely good for your heart and BMI. Changing altitude has been recorded to reduce fat loss.
Hiking is a great alternative to traditional indoor workouts in the gym. I get the feeling of not wanting to workout indoors on the elliptical, or be inside at all. When it’s beautiful out, why not get creative? If you haven’t found your workout niche but want to get in better shape, hiking could be perfect for you.
Hiking is definitely great to do in a group. You can make a day trip out of hiking anywhere and go to a lake, hang out on the top of a mountain and eat lunch, or sunbathe. There’s something in it for everyone.
Some mistakes I’ve previously made (not just me my family was there):
- Remember where you started your trek. If you need to drop a pin on your phone, do so.
- Overestimate trail time. I always try to factor in traffic and add on time for sight seeing etc. Avoid planning a long hike the day you have a set appointment mid afternoon that you will be rushing to make. I’ve been there.
- Bring water if it is a longer hike. Altitude can get you more dehydrated, so even bring a small attachable flask if that’s more convenient.
John Muir once said: “In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.”
Nature has been called a “mental health prescription” due to its positive influence. People often spend so much time in urban settings, and the change of pace brings a much greater balance of exposure.
A Stanford study revealed that city dwellers have a 20 percent higher risk of anxiety and 40 percent higher risk of stress when compared to rural residents. And we don’t often know we need the nature break until we are mid-hike, thankful for the minimal cell service.
I hope you all enjoyed my health check in. Enjoy what’s left of the summer months and go out in nature to clear your mind and senses.
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